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Kasper Schmeichel: 'It was damn nice to see Eriksen laugh'

Kasper Schmeichel: 'It was damn nice to see Eriksen laugh'
© Reuters
The Denmark goalkeeper saw his team-mate collapse and be resuscitated following a cardiac arrest in their Euro 2020 match against Finland on Saturday.

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel admits it was "damn nice" to see Christian Eriksen smiling and laughing when he visited him in hospital.

The Leicester star said seeing his team-mate in such good spirits was also a help to him after the trauma of witnessing Eriksen collapse and be resuscitated following a cardiac arrest on the pitch in their Euro 2020 opener against Finland on Saturday.

Schmeichel pledged the team would do everything they could to win the tournament for Eriksen.

"It was damn nice to see him smile and laugh and be himself and just feel that he is there. It was a great experience and something that has helped me a lot," he told reporters at the Danish team camp.

The goalkeeper added to broadcaster DR: "We're still in the tournament. Now, we have to try to see if we can win this and do it for Christian and do it for all the fans who sat with us and were just as powerless in the situation as we were.

"I have no doubt that this team has the unity, the strength to be able to come together and go out and do something special."

Schmeichel also joined the growing chorus of criticism of UEFA for its handling of the situation, with Denmark told to either resume playing or return the following day to finish the match.

Kasper Schmeichel speaks to Christian Eriksen's wife Sabrina Kvist by the side of the pitch
Schmeichel spoke to Eriksen's wife Sabrina Kvist by the side of the pitch (Friedemann Vogel/AP)

"We were put in a position which I personally don't think we should have been put in," he said.

"It probably required that someone above us had said that it was not the time to make a decision and maybe should wait for the next day."

Team-mate Martin Braithwaite agreed, adding to reporters: "You could have wished for a third option in this situation.

"None of the options were good. We took the least bad one. There were a lot of players that weren't able to play the match. They were elsewhere (mentally)."

Schmeichel's father Peter, himself a former Denmark goalkeeper, said the players were unfairly backed into a corner.

Peter Schmeichel made 129 appearances for Denmark
Peter Schmeichel made 129 appearances for Denmark (Martin Rickett/PA)

He said: "They were left with three options: one was to play immediately and get the last 50 minutes played, one was to come in yesterday at 12 noon and finish the 50 minutes and the third option was to forfeit the game, 3-0.

"So work it out for yourself. Is it the players' wish to play? Did they have any choice really? I don't think they had."

UEFA defended its handling of the incident, and said in a statement: "UEFA is sure it treated the matter with utmost respect for the sensitive situation and for the players.

"It was decided to restart the match only after the two teams requested to finish the game on the same evening.

"The players' need for 48 hours' rest between matches eliminated other options. We can categorically deny that any team was threatened with a forfeit."

Eriksen's agent Martin Schoots told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport the next stage was to ascertain what had happened to the player.

Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen, right, and Mathias Jensen react after seeing Eriksen collapse
Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen, right, and Mathias Jensen react after seeing Eriksen collapse (Stuart Franklin/AP)

"We all want to understand what happened to him, he wants to do it too. The doctors are carrying out in-depth examinations, it will take time," Schoots said.

Professor Sanjay Sharma, a cardiologist at St George's University Hospital in London and medical director for the London Marathon, said the incident placed serious doubts over Eriksen's career.

"Whether he competes again is dependable on lots of factors, his own psyche, his discussions with his wife and children and also the legislation in various countries," he told GMB.

"For example, in Italy where he competes he certainly would not be able to play football again."

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Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

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